There’s a post at the Friendly Atheist that deals with a video that shows a JW family how to shun their child. The embedded video is in Spanish but an English version has surfaced. Watch if you have a strong stomach.
There is so much wrong with this. So much. And this is one of the reasons I got out of the Kingdom Hall.
When I was young, I can remember going to the Kingdom Hall every Sunday with my mother and father. One Sunday, I remember very clearly seeing one of our older “Brothers”–yes, JWs refer to each other as Brother and Sister depending on the member’s sex–in the main aisle between the folding chairs. Although the building was crowded, there was a bubble around this young man. No one looked at him. No one spoke to him. No one turned their heads in his direction. I was the only one who seemingly noticed him.
He had been disfellowshipped, as he had broken one of the rules of the governing body. His crime? He had gotten drunk, which was actively discouraged. But even though he was disfellowshipped, he still came to the Kingdom Hall. But we were to act as though he didn’t exist. The sad thing was, he was already being punished for his transgression. Why? When he had gotten drunk, he tried to dive off a pier at a local beach. It was low tide. He went in head first and snapped his neck, rendering him a paraplegic. He was very lucky he wasn’t killed. But that didn’t matter; he had broken the rules and had to be shunned.
It wasn’t enough that he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. This man had to be ignored by his chosen spiritual community because he had made a massive mistake. At the very moment he needed support, this community failed him. Worse, they didn’t simply fail him, they ignored him.
That was a moment that stayed with me for a long time.
I have no idea what happened to that young man. I honestly can’t tell you. I don’t even know if he remained in the Kingdom Hall. But his presence on one Sunday morning shaped me. It made me question their teachings. It made me a bit more skeptical. It helped me to find my way out.
I don’t know where he is now. I can only hope that he is doing well. I wish I could tell him that I am sorry for what happened to him so long ago.